Lagos-Ibadan railway suffers setback as EximBank reduces commitment

    Chinese EximBank, which had earlier promised to provide 85 per cent of the funds needed for the Lagos-Ibadan rail project has reduced its exposure by about seven per cent, National Daily has gathered.

    Rotimi Amaechi, Minister of Transportation, made this known today during a turbulent meeting with four committees of the House of Representatives, which threatened to cut funding for the ministry this year if it fails to spend the N243billion in its vault.

    He said that the bank insisted it would not pay for land, survey and tax, stating that with the current foreign exchange rate and the extension of the rail to the ports, the project could not be completed as scheduled in 2018.

    Mr. Mohammed Bago, the Chairman, Committee on Maritime Safety and Administration, said that the ministry presented different documents to the committees which did not contain facts.

    He said that the ministry had received N243 billion and had yet to spend it, adding that if the money was not used before the end of the month, it would receive zero allocation in 2017.

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    “We have received three different documents till date and all of them are not consistent and that is why we have asked for a new document to ascertain the value of what this project is all about.

    “We are not going to appropriate on this budget until we have the fact and figure and if we do not have the facts and figure, the ministry of transport will get zero allocation.

    “They have received 243 billion and they have not spent it when Ministry of Health needs money because people are dying of meningitis, Nigerian soldiers are dying in Sambisa, no money to fund the soldiers.

    “The ministry of transportation is seating on billions of Nigerians’ naira released to it and is not utilised.’’

    The ground-breaking for the standard gauge rail project, which will stretch to the Apapa Port was done  by Vice President Osinbajo in early March already has the Federal government’s N60bn funding.